We see this question a lot in our Contact Us forms,
“Can I rent from you with bad credit?”
Ideally, when you're on the lookout for a new place to call home do all you can to raise your credit score, bettering your chance at getting a rental. Yet sometimes circumstances don’t line up and you require a new place before you can improve your credit. When that happens, what can you do?
We found a great resource on Business Insider that outlines the nine things you can try when you are looking to rent an apartment, but have bad credit. You’ll also find (at the end) what credit score you need to have to be eligible to rent from Hignell Rentals as well as a way to rent from us if you don’t meet the credit requirement!
If you have bad or poor credit — somewhere between 300 and 579 — it's not impossible to rent an apartment, it just might take a little more work on your part.
1. Check your credit score
It's best to know what you're getting into before having a potential landlord deny your apartment application because of your credit score. To check your credit score for free, use Credit Karma, Credit Sesame, Credit.com, or FreeCreditReport.com.
2. Look for apartments that don't require credit checks
Although you'll likely have fewer options if you go this route, it may be possible to find some listings on places like Craigslist that specifically say whether or not a credit check is required. You'll want to ensure everything is above-board with places that don't run credit checks (as you would with any place you're about to rent), and that there is an actual lease you'll be signing that makes sense for all parties involved.
3. Be prepared to pay more up front
Just because you have less-than-perfect credit doesn't mean you'll automatically be denied an application. You should just be prepared to (or offer to, if you really want the place) pay a little more up front by way of an increased security deposit or a few months' rent ahead of time to ease any of the landlord's concerns.
4. Get yourself a co-signer
Some cities require a co-signer for apartments if you don't make above a certain income based on the monthly rent charged. But even if your apartment doesn't require it, getting a co-signer could be the answer to your apartment problems.
A co-signer signs a legal document stating that if you miss a payment, they will be liable to make those payments in your place. This means that any co-signer you get should be someone you trust, and who trusts you, since their credit could be negatively impacted by any mistakes you make with your rent.
Disclaimer: At Hignell Rentals specifically, "Be prepared to pay more up front" isn't offered when you have bad credit. However, it is an option offered if someone has no credit history established as well as having a co-signer apply with them.
Hignell Rentals Credit Score Requirement
In order to qualify for a Hignell Rentals rental, you are required to have a 600 or better in our Chico Division and a 550 or better in our Redding Division. You can achieve this by paying bills on-time, leaving available credit on your credit cards (at least 30%) and paying the minimum monthly payment. If you have poor credit, having a co-signer/guarantor is a great way to increase your renting credibility.
At Hignell Rentals, we do accept a co-signer/guarantor when you apply for a rental. They must provide proof of income with their completed application and sign a “Personal Guarantee of Rent”. Generally, a guarantor must meet minimum income standards and be in good credit standing. They will also be required to pay the $35 application fee.
Having bad credit, especially if you plan on bettering it, doesn't have to be the end all when it comes to renting an apartment. Working hard to improve your score, along with having a co-signer/guarantor, can be the answer to your problems!
Want to make sure you have the best chance at getting approved for a rental? Download our 6 tips for making applying easy as pie!